The Donut Dash becomes popular online

Written by Darren Steinke, Gordie Howe Sports Complex

June 12, 2020

The Donut Dash was a fun time for all in 2019. (Photo by Louis Christ)

Fundraising walk/run changes up in 2020

The Donut Dash is alive online, and it is attracting interest.

On June 23, 2019, The Donut Dash was held for the first time on the grounds of the Gordie Howe Sports Complex, where participants could take part in a five-kilometre walk or run. After completing the run, those that took part could enjoy donuts and refreshments.

The event raises funds to be used for the construction of a new Multi-sport Centre to serve the needs of track and field, baseball, Nordic ski and speed and public skating.

When it ran the first time, The Donut Dash brought together 350 participants from all age groups.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has gripped the world, The Donut Dash couldn’t be held as a live in-person event.

Edda Galbraith, who is the race director, said the organizers wanted to keep the event going this year and elected to hold it in an online format. She said she wasn’t sure what the interest would be like.

As of today, over 190 people have signed up to take part in the online version of The Donut Dash, which is brought to you by Brainsport. People have up to and including July 11 to take part in the online version of The Donut Dash.

The Donut Dash in 2019 had participants from all ages. (Photo by Louis Christ)

“Our hope was that we could motivate people to still keep the training goals for this year,” said Galbraith. “The Donut Dash attracts probably all athletes, all levels of athletes.”

This year participants have a few choices in the type of walk or run they want to take part in. They can either do a walk or run that is five-kilometres, 10-kilometres or 21.1-kilometres in length.

Participants will receive a race kit in the mail that includes a souvenir 2020 Donut Dash T-shirt, a money card to Tim Hortons and an official race number.

“There could be first timers, families and kids that are participating as well as some people that just want a fun run in between in summer that maybe you want to just crank out a 5-K (five-kilometre run),” said Galbraith. “We did have last year all levels of athletes, and we just kind of wanted to attract them back offering something that everybody can participate in.

“Of course, we saw definitely kids being super excited about the donuts (last year). Our hope was that we just get something on the agenda for people to do during this lockdown.”

Galbraith said people enjoyed the live event that was held last year. That event included the chance to interact with The Donut Dash’s mascot named “Sprinkles” and “Gingy,” who is the mascot of the Gingerbread Run operated annually by Brainsport in November.

“It was pretty good,” said Galbraith. “The coolest thing was that we got to see the new sports complex and not just us but all the participants too.

“Everything being brand now, that is an exciting part. We had the whole Indoor Training Centre for track to ourselves, so that was pretty amazing. We almost felt little with our 350 participants.

“That is how big the training centre is, so that part was pretty cool to see.”

Participants take part in the walk in The Donut Dash from 2019. (Photo by Louis Christ)

This year, Galbraith hopes people share their experiences doing The Donut Dash over social media, and that could include photos from training runs. Galbraith said event organizers created online training programs to help participants.

She said organizers have enjoyed the social media posts they’ve seen so far.

“With it being online, we encourage people to post and comment and show us your pictures, so we can see that people are doing it, and it is fun for us to see and maybe for other participants too,” said Galbraith. “Knowing that there are other people doing the distance as well, participating in the event, it still keeps it very fun for the organizers at least.

“From what we see from the participants too, the training programs have been attracting a lot of people. You see each other on the trails even. You’re like, ‘Oh cool, that person might be training for The Donut Dash.’”

Galbraith said they’ve had participants sign up from outside the province, which was uplifting to see too.

While The Donut Dash couldn’t be held in a live form, Galbraith believes the online event has still enabled people to come together.

“It has been cool that we can be training together, and we can participate together without being together,” said Galbraith. “The response has been pretty cool.”

For those looking to register for The Donut Dash, they can do so through the event’s race site, which can be found by clicking right here.

One of the perks of The Donut Dash in 2019 was getting to eat donuts. (Photo by Louis Christ)